Have you found yourself getting older and still living in the same house where you raised your kids? If so, you’ve probably considered the idea of downsizing.
For many, downsizing has several upsides. There will be less house to care for which means lower electricity bills, fewer cleaning demands, and less maintenance. Many people who downsize buy smaller homes for much less than the sale price of their former home, allowing them to add significant contributions to retirement funds or other savings. Downsizing can be an ideal solution for those in financial hardship or who are dealing with health issues or other problems.
Whatever your reasons for downsizing, keep in mind these five simple tips to ensure your move is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Start Planning Early
Out of the massive number of older Americans that want to downsize, few actually take the plunge. This is largely because of the fact that most Americans over the age of 50 want to “age in place” meaning the older they get, the less likely they will want to move. Moving at any age is hassle enough, and it doesn’t get any easier as your age. That’s why it is so important to take a proactive approach in changing your housing situation as you age.
Start planning early about what sort of things you’ll need as you age. Will you need a single-story home with easy entryways and wide door frames? If your spouse or significant other passes away or some other event occurs, will you be able to get what you need? Thinking ahead will put you in a much better position when it comes time to make a transition into a downsized home.
Find a Purpose For Your Belongings
One of the most overwhelming aspects of downsizing is that you don’t know what to do with all of your belongings; you don’t have space for them in your new home, but you don’t want to get rid of them either.
Keep in mind that every little corner of your new home should have a purpose or a function. With effective planning, you can make a home office out of a shelf, or an artist studio in the corner of a room. Just because you may not have the space you used to doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same amenities. Be conscious about the belongings you bring into your new home and ensure that everything has a purpose and a place. This will help prevent clutter and keep you feeling whole and living well.
Donate Things You No Longer Need
Instead of tossing unwanted or unneeded items in the garbage, consider donating, recycling or selling. Things like old clothes, wire hangers, and used furnishings can all be donated and refurbished. Half used cleaning supplies can be donated to a shelter, a neighbor, or a friend. If you have high-end items, consider selling them with reputable antique or secondhand dealers. If they can’t buy your goods, chances are they can put you in touch with someone who can. Not only will this prevent you from running errands all over town, but it will also help you have peace of mind, knowing your beloved items are going to a good new home.
Focus On Most-Used Items
Perhaps the biggest set back when downsizing your home is when you don’t keep yourself on a yes-no pattern. When taking inventory of your belongings, decide “Yes – I use this, I love this, and I will have a purpose for this in my new home” or “No – I don’t need this anymore and I won’t have room for it in my new place.” Letting yourself make a “Maybe” pile will only make for more work down the road. All in all, stay focused on what items you use the most and leave the rest behind.
Get An Objective Opinion
The reality of going through a lifetime of belongings is that you will inevitably come across things that you really cannot decide what to do with. If and when this happens, don’t hesitate to get an objective opinion. Consider hiring a professional organizer, or ask a friend to come help. They can often give you a clear, unbiased opinion on what the best solution is for the item in question.
Armed with these five tips, you’ll find that downsizing isn’t just beneficial, but it’s also possible.
If you think it’s time to take the plunge and downsize your home, call 1.877.STORE.HERE. We provide helpful self storage solutions that can make your downsize a breeze.